Decision over future of Torbay refuge further delayed as council meeting cancelled
A DECISION over the future of Torbay's refuge for women and child victims of domestic violence has been further delayed.
It comes after the lack of consultation and planning that had gone into proposals to close the refuge were slammed as 'shambolic'.
The providers of the seven-bed refuge and emergency services for more than a decade have also said the move to close it came as a 'surprise' to them.
The proposal had been due to be decided by council on October 15 but the consultation deadline has been put back to October 30 and the council meeting cancelled.
NEW FROM SYMPLY - a wet dog food in a tray freshly steamed with real meat and veg you can see minimum of 68% meat content up to 72% in the adult trays.
Terms: Come and try tray at introductory price of £1
Contact: 01271 440626
Valid until: Friday, January 31 2014
However, members of the overview and scrutiny committee who met to debate the response so far, heard discussions and new plans may not be finalised by the next council meeting on December 5.
Martin Oxley, supported housing director at Westward Housing Group, welcomed the chance to put their concerns to councillors and be involved in further discussions, but admitted they had been 'surprised' when they learnt of the closure plans having worked closely with the council for many years.
Officers admitted normal procedures had not been followed and apologised for the group being left out of discussions on remodelling the service which arose because the contract has to be renewed.
The council was proposing to replace the refuge with emergency accommodation and put more emphasis on prevention of domestic abuse.
The overview and scrutiny committee members heard Westward Housing has a waiting list of both men and women for its service which only deals with emergency cases.
They said the grant from Torbay did not cover the actual cost of the service.
Councillors praised the work done by the group. Chairman John Thomas said it raised the question: "If it's not broke, why fix it?"
Cllr Jackie Stockman said the way the issue had been handled was 'shambolic' when what was proposed to replace the service had not even been finalised.
Cllr Mark Pountney said they were putting the 'cart before the horse'.
Members accepted that the supporting people department involved had faced stringent cuts in its budget and was short staffed.
Scrutiny members agreed to hold another meeting after the consultation closes — and after further consultation with Westward to discuss a way forward — before making any recommendations.